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Current Affairs Posts - Page 8

Edward Snowden was Time's second runner up for person of the year

Before Edward Snowden blew his whistle, the average American had no idea that the NSA was watching every move we make in our daily lives. Like him or not, we have him to thank for cluing us in on the illegal actions taken by big brother to "ensure our safety."

 

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Time Magazine has just released its Person of the Year announcement and surprisingly Edward Snowden was runner up for the top spot which was claimed by Pope Francis. While some Americans despise Snowden, there are many who champion him as a hero for leaking the information he did. Time's decision on why it chose Pope Francis is still unclear as it has in the past named whistle-blowers as persons of the year. Who do you think deserved the top spot? Pope Francis? Edward Snowden? Or someone else entirely? Let us know in the comments.

Samsung launches a vessel that is 12x the size of the Titanic

You probably thought I was smoking something exotic when I wrote that title, but no - this isn't bait - Samsung has just launched the Prelude, the world's largest floating vessel. Samsung, a company known for its Galaxy devices and various electronic devices, will use its Prelude for offshore gas extraction.

 

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The Prelude is truly massive in scale, where it is 12x the size of the already-gigantic Titanic, nearly as big as the Taipei 101 - which is a massive building in its own right. The Prelude is 488m long, and is the first platform on Earth that can liquefy natural gas on-board, and then pipe it directly into liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships for delivery into neighboring countries. It will be stationed just north of Australia, where it will be parked for 25 years.

 

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Liquefying natural gas isn't easy, but the Prelude can do this - and shrinks it up 600x, which requires an incredible amount of energy to get the gas to -260F, which makes it nice and compact for easy transportation. Samsung has reportedly spend $12 billion to create the Prelude, and was built for Shell, by Samsung Heavy Industries, a Samsung affiliate. Samsung Heavy Industries has an annual revenue of around $13 billion, so this is quite the investment.

 

The Prelude can withstand hurricanes that are up to Category 5, which goes to show the engineering efforts Samsung put into this behemoth.

Continue reading 'Samsung launches a vessel that is 12x the size of the Titanic' (full post)

Guardian editor threatened with terrorism charges over Snowden leaks

Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, is being threatened by British police over "potential" terrorism charges for publishing the incriminating NSA and GCHQ documents that NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, leaked.

 

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Rusbridger testified in front of a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday, where lawmakers pushed the suggestion that the Guardian helped terrorists, just because the British paper revealed UK and US spy agency 'secrets'. Rusbridger stood his ground, stating that the government spying going on all around the world should be of public knowledge.

 

The Guardian editor said: "We have published I think 26 documents out of the 58,000 we've seen, or 58,000 plus. So we have made very selective judgments about what to print. We have published no names and we have lost control of no names."

 

Critics are comparing the current spy scandals and "terrorism" charges against the infamous anti-communism hearing which were conducted by US Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Cold War. Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism, said: "The astonishing suggestion that this sort of journalism can be equated with aiding and abetting terrorism needs to be scotched decisively. Attacking the Guardian is an attempt to do the bidding of the services themselves, by distracting attention from the real issues. It is the roles of a free press to hold government to account, and yet there have even been outrageous suggestions from some conservative MPs that the Guardian should face a criminal investigation."

Cyber Monday has arrived and here are some of the web's best deals

Some people thrive on the adrenalin rush that comes from fighting the hoards of turkey stuffed shoppers on Black Friday, but there are those of us who play it smart and enjoy the weekend after Thanksgiving and never enter a store. That is because we know that the biggest deals of the year come with the massive online sales that Cyber Monday brings.

 

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I took a few moments this morning to round up what I think may be some of the best deals on the web today. Everything from mobile phones to tablets, and even 3D Printers are listed, but some of the sales have limited stock and are a first come first serve kind of thing. Check out my picks for the best Cyber Monday deals after the jump.

Continue reading 'Cyber Monday has arrived and here are some of the web's best deals' (full post)

The code to US nuclear launch codes, until 1977, was just 00000000

ry thought: the combination to start an all-out nuclear war with the world, killing billions, up until 1977 at least, was 00000000. The stupidly simple code was chosen by Strategic Air Command, in an effort to make weapons as quick and easy to launch as possible.

 

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John F Kennedy pushed for PAL (Permissive Action Link) encoding in 1962, which is a security device for nuclear weapons that is meant to prevent unauthorized arming or detonation of the nuclear weapon itself. JFK signed the National Security Agency Memorandum 160 in 1962, which required that all nuclear weapons be fitted with the security system.

 

Problem was, nuclear experts claim the military was worried that command centers and communication lines would be destroyed in a true nuclear war, which would stop soldiers getting the codes to launch nuclear missiles when they were actually needed. This forced the action of reducing the code to something that is very simple: 00000000.

Continue reading 'The code to US nuclear launch codes, until 1977, was just 00000000' (full post)

GameStop unveils Black Friday deals, includes Battlefield 4 for $25

Black Friday is quickly approaching and information on various retailers sales is beginning to pour in. Today GameStop announced that it has hired 17,000 more people to help staff its stores on Friday, and has also released its Black Friday sale list. The list may not be very large, but for those of you lucky enough to get into a GameStop early enough, massive savings await.

 

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Unfortunately none of the next-generation consoles are on the list, but you could score an Xbox 360, or PS3 both with 250GB HDDs for just $250 each. Alternatively, Battlefield 4 will be on sale for just $24.99 which equates to more than half off of its MSRP. A Sophix 7-inch Android tablet will be on hand for just $70 as well.

Continue reading 'GameStop unveils Black Friday deals, includes Battlefield 4 for $25' (full post)

PDXLAN November charity event sponsored by Thermaltake

PDXLAN is a West Coast Mecca of LAN parties, usually with 500 PC gamers from all across the United States and Canada. They come together and game for four days straight. On November 8, 2013, 400 PDXLAN gamers donate over 37,000 Lbs of food to local charities thanks to a sponsorship from Thermaltake for the November charity event.

 

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Gamers are always considered to be aggressive or violent by the media because of the games they play, but thanks to PDXLAN many unfortunate families can receive meals this holiday season. Matt "Vector" Conwell the PDXLAN Owner and Organizer says "Gamers Give Back." This act of kindness demonstrates that the gaming community is full of amazing people that care.

Continue reading 'PDXLAN November charity event sponsored by Thermaltake' (full post)

FDA orders Google's DNA test startup, 23andMe, to stop all sales

Today reports have surfaced that state that the FDA has ordered the Google backed startup 23andMe to immediately cease and desist all sales of its DNA testing kits. The ban on sales is the result of the company failing to obtain "marketing clearance or approval" from federal regulators to sell its product.

 

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The company sells a "DNA Spit Kit" that is used to test a customers DNA and then reports on over 250 health conditions, traits and other genetic identifiers that one might have, or be susceptible to. In a statement, the FDA said that it "is concerned about the public health consequences of inaccurate results from the PGS device. The main purpose of compliance with FDA's regulatory requirements is to ensure that the tests work."

 

In response 23andMe had the following to say. "We recognize that we have not met the FDA's expectations regarding timeline and communication regarding our submission. Our relationship with the FDA is extremely important to us and we are committed to fully engaging with them to address their concerns."

Apple confirms Black Friday event with both online and in-store deals

This morning Apple announced that it will be participating in the madness that we like to call Black Friday. The announcement came unofficially via a page spotted by 9To5Mac on the company's Australian website, which has also gone live on the New Zealand Apple website.

 

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Unfortunately, the pages do not offer any insight into what products may be discounted, or what accessories may be on sale. The image does say that Apple will offer free shipping for online purchases, and does allude to in-store deals. The add also specifically mentions the iPhone and features an image of an iPad Air, so it is a safe bet that at least the iPhone 5C and iPad Air will be discounted. Then again, this is Apple, so there could be no discounts at all.

Elon Musk named Businessperson of the Year by Fortune Magazine

Elon Musk has had a rough few weeks with the media frenzy over his company's flagship Model S electric vehicle catching fire after collisions with roadway debris, but some good news has arisen for the billionaire entrepreneur. Musk has been chosen as Fortune Magazine's Businessperson of the Year.

 

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Musk not only own Tesla Motors, but he is also the owner and founder of the private space travel company Space X, and is the largest shareholder of SolarCity. Musk made his fortune when he sold PayPal to online auction giant, Ebay, and unlike other billionaires, he has invested not only his money, but his time into technological company's that are aimed at changing the world for the better. Bloomberg list Musk as being worth $7.7 billion which is far off from Mark Zuckerberg's $19 billion, but wealth does little to earn the title, and it is his his personality, audacity and tenacity that landed him the top spot.

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